The Blue Angel
(Der blaue Engel)
Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Hans Albers, Kurt Gerron,
Austrian-born, American-schooled Josef von Sternberg went to Berlin to direct Emil Jannings in the actor’s first sound film. But the performer for whom The Blue Angel is best remembered is not Jannings but Marlene Dietrich. Shot simultaneously in German and English-language versions the film made Dietrich an international icon with the role of Lola Lola, a performer in a cabaret dripping with atmospheric Weimar sleaze. Lola’s coarse crooning, bold manner, and signature costume—white top hat, black stockings, and little else—reduce Jannings’s prim professor to a groveling, crowing caricature of masochistic compulsion.